Staff News – Citizen Diplomacy Evening

CRDC HOSTS 1ST ANNUAL CITIZEN DIPLOMACY EVENING

October 19, 2009

ICAR Report of the event:

Description

The Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC) was pleased to host a joyous “Citizen Diplomacy Evening” at 7:30pm on Monday October 19 in Room 555 of the Truland Building. CRDC’s first Citizen Diplomacy Award was presented to CRDC Senior Associate Hind Kabawat, and a new film on Hind Kabawat and her pioneering work in Syria, directed by David Vyorst and funded by the Fetzer Institute, was screened.

Detailed Event Invitation

The Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC) is pleased to invite everyone to a joyous “Citizen Diplomacy Evening” at 7:30pm on Monday October 19 in Room 555 of the Truland Building. We will be presenting CRDC’s first Citizen Diplomacy Award to CRDC Senior Associate Hind Kabawat, and screening a new film on Hind Kabawat and her pioneering work in Syria, directed by David Vyorst and funded by the Fetzer Institute. Hind will be in attendance to describe the context of the film and respond to questions. But mostly this will be an evening of celebration of achievements, together with friends, diplomats and fellow travelers.

The film is part of a series entitled UNUSUAL PAIRS: Friends Across the Divide. This is a multi-year project designed by CRDC Director Marc Gopin and film director David Vyorst, and it consists of online films and a forthcoming book by Marc that analyzes the anatomy of ‘beloved enemies’, friendships and partnerships across dangerous divides, both in the world’s wisdom literature and in the actual lived experiences of contemporary peace partners who display evidence of truly equal partnerships.

The approach to positive change that the project presents is largely unknown. That is why Marc together with Fetzer considered it a vital contemporary social need for many more people to know of this work. We are presenting these beautiful films in the widest possible venue and completely free of charge, a series of films and a book that would otherwise be quite expensive. The purpose of making this work generously available is to make the public a part of our efforts to engage the world, educate the world, and create a social network committed to positive social change even for those people embroiled in deadly conflict.

Our special focus for this stage of the project is the Middle East, and in particular a set of Arab/Jewish relationships. The films introduce an in-depth look at unique partners who develop friendship, devotion, cooperation and path-breaking peace work across the lines of enemy groups. They have developed these friendships and partnerships even in the midst of war, loss, grievance, pain, and even with accusations all around them of treason and betrayal. Yet these unusual men and women have formed effective bridges of humanity where none existed. They have proven to be resilient, creative, persistent, compassionate and visionary when others around them give up hope. They are models to be studied and debated, and those presented in the films are but a few of thousands of ‘unusual pairs’ across the globe today waiting to be discovered, learned from, and supported.

Our project wants to know, what makes these people tick? Who are they and why do they do what they do? And how can they be a role model for thousands of others in such a way that makes these ‘citizen diplomats’ so numerous that they have a positive impact on missing or weak government peace processes? We are looking for viewers in the public to send us links to other stories of a similar nature, in order to help us build a powerful reservoir of human knowledge on social change.

We will have many distinguished guests to celebrate the film and the award, and Marc will also introduce at the end of the evening excerpts from his latest book, To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy an the Age of Religious Militancy (Rowman Littlefield), which analyzes the past five years of Hind’s work and his in Syria.

Click here to see more photos from the event.